species: human

Dairy-Containing Supplement Reduces Rates of Stunting in Babies Born in Resource-Poor Communities

Dairy-Containing Supplement Reduces Rates of Stunting in Babies Born in Resource-Poor Communities

Babies born in resource-poor rural and semi-rural communities have a high risk of stunting, that is, being born short for their gestational age. Rates as high as 60% have been documented in one indigenous population in Guatemala. Stunting at birth predicts increased infant and child mortality as well as ongoing growth retardation. Growth retardation in turn carries a higher risk for impaired brain function and loss of economic productivity. In female infants, growth failure presents a greater reproductive risk for themselves and their eventual children due to intrauterine growth restriction. The issue is primarily a consequence of inadequate nutrition, and is considered to be a major public health challenge in developing nations. However, nutrition interventions carried out during the infant and toddler stages have had only limited success in either treating or preventing growth failure. Those aimed at maternal nutrition during pregnancy, primarily focusing on micronutrients, have produced positive, albeit modest, effects on newborn size. Interventions prior to conception have not been well studied in humans, but animal studies have shown promise. Read More...

New Milk Biomarkers Predict Preterm Infant Growth

New Milk Biomarkers Predict Preterm Infant Growth

A current trend in the marketing of healthy foods and drinks is highlighting a product’s short ingredient list; the less “stuff” in a food, the healthier it must be, right? This may be true for energy bars or fruit juices, but when it comes to human milk, a long list of ingredients is precisely what makes it optimal for infant health. Over the last decade, as the health food aisle has increased in so-called simple and clean foods, human milk’s ingredient list just keeps getting more complicated. Innovations in analytical tools have led to more in-depth studies detailing the specific types of fats, amino acids, sugars, and other metabolites present in human milk. Creating milk “–omes”—specifically, the milk metabolome, glycome, and lipidome—complicates human milk research in the best possible way, opening the door to identifying specific milk components that influence infant growth and development. Read More...

Cow Milk Phospholipids Can Improve Cognitive Performance under Stressful Conditions

Cow Milk Phospholipids Can Improve Cognitive Performance under Stressful Conditions

Stress affects us in many ways, including well-studied impacts on cognit. “We know stress, in certain situations, can negatively impact some domains of cognitive performance,” says Dr. Neil Boyle from the University of Leeds. Read More...

Human Milk and Saliva Synergize to Shape the Infant Oral Microbiome

Human Milk and Saliva Synergize to Shape the Infant Oral Microbiome

Parents of infants spend a good deal of time wiping up their baby’s drool but probably don’t give a second thought to the important ingredients that drool may contain. Lucky for them, a team of researchers from Australia happily collected and analyzed baby saliva in an effort to identify compounds that may influence the growth of bacterial communities in the infant’s mouth and, subsequently, the rest of their gastrointestinal tract. Read More...

No Causal Link between Breastfeeding and Metabolic Health

No Causal Link between Breastfeeding and Metabolic Health

Demonstrating cause and effect can be a tricky business. In some areas of medicine, where double-blind prospective trials are commonplace, it is less of a challenge. By comparison, the field of public health, researchers often have to gather information as best they can—clues about human motivations, traces of behaviors, and diseases—and then do their best to identify the links. Scientists studying whether mothers who breastfeed have better long-term metabolic health than mothers who do not breastfeed have come up against these problems. Recent work has focused sharply on isolating the causal pattern, and has found that breastfeeding itself does not affect long-term maternal metabolic health. Read More...

Dairy Fat Is Not Associated with Heart Disease

Dairy Fat Is Not Associated with Heart Disease

The defense attorney summed up. “The prosecution’s case against dairy fat’s alleged health misdeeds is flawed and circumstantial. The flimsy forensic evidence does not stand up to repeated scientific inspection. The accused just looked like one of the suspect crowd and became wrongly branded with their guilt.” Now, a clinical trial following an elderly population for a remarkable 21 years, as well as mounting independent evidence, reports on dairy fat’s innocence. Dairy fat is not associated with risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Four past articles in SPLASH! have also summarized related aspects of the growing body of scientific evidence supporting this conclusion. Read More...

Cow Milk Can Protect the Gut from Alcohol-Induced Gastric Ulcers

Cow Milk Can Protect the Gut from Alcohol-Induced Gastric Ulcers

Ulcers can be a real pain in the gut, and they’re unfortunately quite common, affecting more than 10% of the world’s population. Drinking alcohol, smoking, stress, and microbial infections are all known to exacerbate these ulcers. Read More...

Milk is Alive with Mom’s Cells

Milk is Alive with Mom’s Cells

Surprises upturn accepted routines and demonstrate how little we really know. A new class of immune cell type, innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), was recently and unexpectedly discovered in fresh breast milk, and it promises to radically alter scientists’ understanding of how milk protects babies from infections, and possibly much more. The ground-breaking scientific paper [1] describing this discovery was recently published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association - Paediatrics by Babak Baban and three colleagues from Augusta University. The paper has the modest but revealing title “Presence and Profile of Innate Lymphoid Cells in Human Breast Milk.” Read More...

Probiotic Milk Reduces Rate of Pre-eclampsia and Pre-term Birth

Probiotic Milk Reduces Rate of Pre-eclampsia and Pre-term Birth

Probiotics are living microorganisms that improve health when they are administered in sufficient numbers. Often, administration means eating—in yogurt form or perhaps as a food supplement. Orally consumed probiotics can shift the composition of vaginal bacteria, making it harder for potentially pathogenic bacterial and yeast species to grow there. Probiotics have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. And it is these reports that encouraged a team of Scandinavian scientists to investigate whether consuming probiotic milk products during pregnancy cuts the probability of developing pre-eclampsia or having a spontaneous, pre-term birth. The results of their study are promising, not least because probiotic milk products are cheap and widely available. The next step will be to further investigate the mechanistic details of the effects. Read More...

Almond “Milk”: A Case of Identify Theft?

Almond “Milk”: A Case of Identify Theft?

Juliet Capulet famously asked, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Juliet was able to look past “Montague” and love Romeo in spite of his surname. But when it comes to food and nutrition, names matter. Case in point—plant-based “milks.” Their placement in grocery stores in the dairy case and the use of “milk” on their packaging can give the false impression that they are nutritionally equivalent to cow milk. Although plant-based milk alternatives offer many nutritional benefits and are produced to have the same texture and appearance as milk, they are not a suitable nutritional substitute for cow milk, particularly for children and adolescents. Read More...

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